Review: Hanslick Rebellion - The Rebellion is Here (live)
Label: July 10, 2007
Released: Eschatone Records
The Hanslick Rebellion was once heralded as "possibly the finest band to ever call Albany home" (by a writer from the local paper). I suppose that might be true, but it's still not much of a case for greatness. Neither is the re-issue of this ten-plus-year-old live recording. Back in the 90s, the band established themselves as a regional college crowd favorite and for good reason. They play a loose, jam oriented brand of rock that seems to thrive in every college town. Their originals have that kind of inside-joke rapport with the crowd that makes a band very popular with the locals, but never seems to translate out in the big wide world. Like every local college favorite, they do their share of covers and they do them well. They add funky energy to the Modern Lovers' "Pablo Picasso" and do the B-52s doing Syd Barrett on "Vegetable Man." They throw in a medley that mixes the Archies and Mighty Mighty Bosstones into "Heroin" which has some tongue-in-cheek charm. The covers are certainly more fun than the originals, but not a single one is even remotely essential.
While the album does capture the live experience well, the Hanslick Rebellion merely manages to give their spin on the forced quirkiness of bands like Barenaked Ladies, just a little angrier and a little less clever. People who enjoyed the local scene around UAlbany in the mid-90s will probably find this to be a fond memory, because the show was clearly a fine time, but that charm is lost on the rest of us.